Beef & Liberty

The Beefsteak Club was a dining club that was popular with the male upper class and creatives of especially London society in the 18th and 19th centuries.  The club celebrated the beef steak and the members wore a uniform of a blue waistcoats and brass buttons while enjoying their steaks with potatoes and port. Their motto was ‘Beef and Liberty”.

The 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, was a member of the club. He was also First Sea Lord, and had held a commanding position in the British Navy. He was a gutsy explorer and loved to gamble.

While engrossed in a game of cards at the pub in Covent Garden called Shakespeare’s Head in 1762, the Earl was hungry and called for this dinner.  But not wanting to interupt his winning spell, he told the staff,

“Just bring me a piece of meat between two bits of bread”.

Others saw what the Earl was eating.

“Bring me what Sandwich is having” they all asked.

And thus the sandwich was born…

This marvelous invention meant that if you were playing cards, or fighting a battle at sea, you could eat without fuss or mess.

The 11th Earl of Sandwich, John Edward Hollister Montagu, his son Orlando and the founder of Planet Hollywood, Robert Earl, decided to catpitalise on the Sandwich family fame of inventing the sandwich, and opened a sandwich shop in Walt Disney Resort in Florida, USA.

After opening 15 shops across the US, the first British shop was opening in London at  38 Ludgate Hill, adjoining St Martin Ludgate.

The “Earl of Sandwich” has the registered motto of “The World’s Greatest Hot Sandwich” and inside are portraits of the 1st Earl of Sandwich and James Cook of Sandwich Island fame.

Even though Dr Phil says, “You don’t need a pack of wild horses to learn how to make a sandwich”, a sandwich at the Earl of Sandwich is not just a sandwich, but a bite into history.

©Dawn Denton


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